Olympiad garners 105 BSF in G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup score
by NYRA Press Office
· Olympiad garners 105 BSF in G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup score
· Annapolis to take on elders in G1 Coolmore Turf Mile; G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic remains in play for Pletcher’s G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup contenders
· Virginia Joy earns 98 BSF for G2 Flower Bowl score
· Champions Dream registers 74 Beyer Speed Figure in debut victory
· Decorated Invader returns to turf work tab
Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stable and LNJ Foxwoods multiple graded stakes winner Olympiad surpassed the $2 million mark in purse earnings with a prominent two-length score in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott and piloted by regular rider Junior Alvarado, the 4-year-old Speightstown colt garnered a 105 Beyer Speed Figure and picked up a second “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 5 at Keeneland with his decisive victory over Grade 1-winner Americanrevolution in Saturday’s 10-furlong test for 3-year-olds and up.
Olympiad improved his record to 6-for-7 on the year, adding to victories in the Grade 3 Mineshaft on February 19 and Grade 2 New Orleans Classic on March 26 at Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots before securing triumphs in Churchill Downs’ Grade 2 Alysheba on May 6 and Grade 2 Stephen Foster on July 2, which also offered “Win and You’re In” status.
He entered the Jockey Club Gold Cup, his first attempt at 10 furlongs, off his lone defeat this year when a distant fourth behind Life Is Good in the nine-furlong Grade 1 Whitney on August 6 at the Spa.
“He had a poor race in the Whitney. The excuse that we gave him was the high heat and the high humidity,” Mott said. “He bounced back with the better weather yesterday. It seemed like he had good energy leaving the paddock and he ran that way.
“Olympiad looks like he exited the race in good order,” Mott added. “He ate up last night and he looked good on the shank this morning. It seemed like he had good energy and a good appetite.”
Mott said Olympiad will now target the 10-furlong Grade 1, $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland where he will face the undefeated Flightline, who earned a 126 Beyer for his 19 1/4-length score in Saturday’s Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar while trying the Classic distance for the first time.
“We are leaning toward the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Of course, the next question is going to be, ‘What about Flightline, who ran in California,’” Mott said. “They usually run more than one horse in the race, and we’ll probably be a participant. We won two Win-and-You’re-In races and we won at a mile and a quarter. It’s the end of the year with a big purse. We’ll probably have a lot of interest in going to the Breeders’ Cup Classic.”
Olympiad’s redemptive victory came one race after George Krikorian’s War Like Goddess, piloted by Joel Rosario, came up a neck short of measured pacesetter Virginia Joy in the 11-furlong Grade 2, $600,000 Flower Bowl.
Virginia Joy strolled through splits of 26.47 seconds, 53.29, 1:19.59 and 1:45.29 over the firm inner turf as War Like Goddess saved ground in fifth position before launching a strong bid from the quarter-pole. The 5-year-old English Channel mare reeled in all but the winner with an impressive turn of foot as Virginia Joy stopped the clock in 2:19.51.
“We are victims, naturally, in how the horses are going to run and how they perform. We are let down if they don’t perform as well or get the trip that we wanted,” Mott said. “So, it all comes into play. Naturally, we were elated when Olympiad came through for us.”
War Like Goddess was closer to the pace when overcoming splits of 53.77 and 1:19.88 to win the 12-furlong Grade 3 Bewitch in April at Keeneland and was nearer the decidedly swifter pace last out of 51.53 and 1:17.51 in the 12-furlong Grade 2 Glens Falls on August 6 at the Spa.
Mott indicated that War Like Goddess exited the race in good order and is likely to make her next start in the Breeders’ Cup but did not elaborate on the previously suggested possibility of racing against the boys in the 12-furlong Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf, to benefit from the added ground offered in comparison to the 1 3/16-mile Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
“I think both horses are going directly to the Breeders’ Cup. We’ll train them up to the race,” Mott said.
Annapolis to take on elders in G1 Coolmore Turf Mile; G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic remains in play for Pletcher’s G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup contenders
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher said Bass Racing’s Kentucky homebred Annapolis is eyeing the Grade 1, $1 million Coolmore Turf Mile versus older company on October 8 at Keeneland after posting an easy victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Saranac at 1 1/16-miles on turf for sophomores.
Annapolis, a dual graded stakes winner, registered a 96 Beyer Speed Figure with Saturday’s commanding gate-to-wire effort under the meet’s leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr.
By War Front and out of graded stakes winner My Miss Sophia, Annapolis added a third stakes victory, and second at graded level, to his resume, having never finished worse than second in six lifetime starts.
A first out maiden winner over the Spa’s inner turf last September, Annapolis captured the Grade 2 Pilgrim one month later at Belmont Park. He returned to action in the Grade 2 Penn Mile in June where he was second as the favorite over extremely soft turf before winning the Manila on July 4 at Belmont and finishing second in the Grade 1 Caesars Saratoga Derby Invitational on August 6 at the Spa.
Pletcher said he had initially considered training Annapolis up to the Coolmore Turf Mile, a Breeders’ Cup “Win And You’re In” event for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile on November 5 at Keeneland.
“He’s a colt that carries his condition really well and takes his races in good order. We just felt like our best chance at the Coolmore Mile was with another race under his belt,” said Pletcher, who won the 2005 Turf Mile with Eugene Melnyk’s Host. “It seemed to work out nicely. He got a pretty easy race yesterday and I didn’t think it would be taxing race on him so hopefully it moves him forward to his best effort in the Coolmore Mile.”
Although Annapolis’ Saranac victory was a frontrunning score, Pletcher said he runs better with a target.
“He’s talented enough that in a race like yesterday where there was no pace, he could go ahead and take charge. I think ideally, he wants to be covered up a little bit,” Pletcher said.
While Grade 1 Whitney winner Life Is Good appears to be Pletcher’s heaviest hitter for the Grade 1, $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, he still has under consideration his four contenders from Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup, including runner-up Americanrevolution, who finished two lengths behind Olympiad in his 10-furlong debut.
“I thought he ran well. It was a tricky race where there was no pace, and it makes it difficult for horses trying to close ground against very soft fractions,” Pletcher said. “That’s where you saw a difference in the Jockey Club and the Whitney. Life Is Good turned up the backside and throws down a 23 opening quarter and changes things a lot. For our horses yesterday, the pace scenario didn’t play to their strengths, but I thought Americanrevolution kept fighting hard to the wire.”
Americanrevolution, the 2021 New York-Bred Horse of the Year, captured the Grade 1 Cigar Mile on December 4 at Aqueduct Racetrack and entered the Jockey Club Gold Cup off a runner-up effort to Olympiad in the Grade 2 Stephen Foster on July 2 at Churchill Downs.
Pletcher also saddled Untreated [fourth], Keepmeinmind [fifth] and Dynamic One [sixth] in Saturday’s race. The latter, who won the Grade 2 Suburban on July 9 going 10 furlongs at Belmont, was compromised by a slow pace and was left with too much to do from last-of-8 into the first turn.
“He was last turning up the backside and when they’re going that slow it’s hard to make much of an impact from there,” Pletcher said. “Keepmeinmind was kind of in the same boat as Dynamic One, just had too much to do from where he was at the three-quarter pole.”
Untreated, owned by Team Valor, finished three-quarters of a length behind third-place finisher First Captain. The son of Nyquist entered off a string of third-place finishes in the Suburban and the Grade 3 Pimlico Special on May 20, which was won by First Captain.
“He ran hard and it was unfortunate that he missed third but it was a good effort and I was happy with it,” Pletcher said.
Pletcher mentioned both the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward on October 1 at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet and the Grade 2, $500,000 Lukas Classic on the same day at Churchill Downs as possible targets for all four horses. He also mentioned the possibility of training up to the Classic as well.
Pletcher said he was “making headway” with Grade 3 Dwyer winner Charge It, who missed last Saturday’s Grade 1 Runhappy Travers due to a foot abscess.
Pletcher added that Repole Stable’s second out maiden winner Chocolate Gelato, who worked a half-mile in 49.22 seconds on Sunday morning, is targeting the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette on October 2 at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet. The one-turn mile race is a Breeders’ Cup “Win And You’re In” qualifier for the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on November 4 at Keeneland and has been won by Pletcher with Adieu , Devil May Care  and Dreaming of Julia .
Virginia Joy earns 98 BSF for G2 Flower Bowl score
Peter Brant’s Virginia Joy scored the fourth group/graded victory of her career on Saturday in the Grade 2, $600,000 Flower Bowl for older fillies and mares traveling 1 3/8 miles at Saratoga Race Course. The frontrunning effort garnered a career second-best 98 Beyer Speed Figure.
Trained by four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown, Virginia Joy provided her conditioner with his 11th stakes win of the Saratoga meet. Brown leads all trainers at the meet heading into Sunday’s 12-race card with 39 wins, five more than Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher .
“It’s a credit to my team and the horses,” Brown said of his successes this summer. “It’s a group of really talented teammates and coworkers and a deep pool of versatile, talented horses. Together, they put together a great meet, so all the credit goes to them.”
Virginia Joy’s Flower Bowl win came in wire-to-wire fashion as she set a slow tempo with Irad Ortiz, Jr. up, marking off a half-mile in 53.29 seconds and a mile in 1:45.29. Heavy post-time favorite War Like Goddess made a rally from the back of the pack at the top of the lane and drove strongly down the middle of the lane, but could not catch up to Virginia Joy, who held off her challenger by a neck.
“She came out of it fine. She was able to set a soft pace and outsprint the favorite to the wire, so I was grateful for that,” said Brown. “She ran a great race – she set the fractions and I’m proud of her.”
The win awarded Virginia Joy a berth into the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf in November at Keeneland as part of the “Win and You’re In” qualifying series, but Brown said he unsure exactly where the German-bred Soldier Hollow mare will run next.
“I’m not sure yet, I haven’t decided,” said Brown. “I’ll talk to Mr. Brant about it and see how she trains post-race. I haven’t put much thought into that yet.”
Brown watched a large string of his top turf horses post works over the Oklahoma turf training course Sunday, including Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational winner McKulick, who breezed a half-mile in 1:01.89 in company with Group 1 winner Rougir.
McKulick, who won her first Grade 1 in the Belmont Oaks and has never finished off-the-board in six lifetime outings, was last seen finishing a game second to With The Moonlight in the Grade 1 Saratoga Oaks Invitational on August 7 at the Spa.
Brown said the daughter of Frankel will now look to contest the third and final leg of the Caesars Turf Triple Series for fillies in the Grade 3, $700,000 Jockey Club Oaks Invitational on September 17 at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.
“She worked good with Rougir and she’s being pointed to the Jockey Club Oaks,” said Brown. “She’s had a great season so far. I’m hoping she has another good race in her.”
Brown’s first of three Grade 1 wins at the meet came on July 22 when In Italian scored in the $500,000 Diana to upset the field of six that included three stablemates. The daughter of Dubawi has had five works since, including her Sunday breeze in company with multiple graded stakes winner Regal Glory going five furlongs in 1:01.55.
Brown said he was proud to see In Italian score a Grade 1 victory in the Diana and that both she and Regal Glory will get another chance at a top-level victory in Keeneland’s Grade 1 First Lady on October 8 traveling one-mile on the lawn.
“It was really rewarding,” Brown said of In Italian’s Diana effort. “She breezed this morning with Regal Glory and went super. They’ll probably both go to the First Lady at Keeneland.”
Regal Glory, a 6-year-old Animal Kingdom mare, was last seen finishing a good second against males in the Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap on August 13 at the Spa. There, she tracked 3 1/2 lengths off the pace and battled down the lane with Casa Creed, but ultimately finished 1 1/2 lengths in arrears of that foe.
Brown said he is hopeful that Regal Glory will make her first appearance in a Breeders’ Cup in November at Keeneland.
“She ran really well, just came up a little short,” said Brown. “She’s come out of it fine and we’re heading to the Breeders’ Cup down the road.”
Brown noted that Masen, who finished third three-quarters of a length behind Regal Glory in the Fourstardave, will also be pointed to a race at Keeneland. The Kingman gelding was part of Brown’s set over the Oklahoma turf Sunday and breezed five-eighths in 1:00.74 in company with multiple graded stakes winner Public Sector.
Champions Dream registers 74 Beyer Speed Figure in debut victory
Trainer Danny Gargan has high hopes for Saturday debut winner Champions Dream, who recorded a 74 Beyer Speed Figure when defeating a field of 2-year-old maidens by 2 1/4 lengths.
Owned by Jeff Weiss’ Rosedown Racing Stables, Champions Dream led the nine-horse field from gate-to-wire and finished off the seven furlongs in 1:23.68.
“We have two or three that are good colts and I think he’s a special horse. He’s very focused and a very determined horse,” Gargan said.
Gargan was noncommittal to a next start for the son of 2018 Triple Crown winner and leading freshman sire Justify.
“Jeff is a real patient owner so we’ll take on step at a time and figure it out in a few days. He’s going to have a bright future,” Gargan said.
Champions Dream has been a phenomenal work horse, according to Gargan.
“We never really let him run in the morning and he had all those B+ and A- works,” Gargan said. “He’s just a really talented horse, very athletic, light on his feet and does what you want. He went off 6-5 for a reason, he had been training well. I really appreciate everyone involved. Jeff, Conor Foley [of Oracle Bloodstock] and Megan Jones picked him out and I couldn’t be happier.”
Bred in Kentucky by John C. Oxley, Champions Dream is out of the graded stakes winning Tapit filly Dancinginherdreams and was bought for $425,000 at the OBS March Sale from pinhook consigner Parrish Farms, who bought the horse at last year’s Keeneland September Sale for $25,000.
Decorated Invader returns to turf work tab
West Point Thoroughbreds, William T. Freeman, William Sandbrook and Cheryl Manning’s multiple graded stakes winner Decorated Invader, who has been away from the races for nearly 16 months, returned to Saratoga Race Course’s Oklahoma turf training track Sunday for his first breeze over grass since returning from his hiatus.
The 5-year-old son of Declaration of War worked a half-mile in 49.21 seconds, the eighth fastest of 49 recorded works. As a 2-year-old, Decorated Invader made the grade in the Grade 1 Summer at Woodbine Racetrack. He was a respectable fourth in his subsequent start, the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf to close out that campaign.
His sophomore campaign began 3-for-3, beginning in the Cutler Bay at Gulfstream Park and followed by Grade 2 success in the Pennine Ridge at Belmont Park and the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame at the Spa.
Miguel Clement, son and assistant to trainer Christophe Clement, said Decorated Invader has progressed ahead of schedule.
“To be honest, we thought he was more for the later fall,” said Clement. “But with the way he is training at the moment and the way he just worked now we might be more inclined thinking sooner than later.
“It’s exciting to get him back in the fall training campaign mode,” Clement added. “He’s a top class horse and hopefully we can get him back to the same level before we had to have a bit of a break.”
Decorated Invader has banked $525,035 in 12 career starts, going 5-2-1 in that span.
Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Peter and Patty Searles’ New York-bred graded stakes winner City Man is entered in Monday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap, for 3-year-olds-and-up going 1 1/16-miles on the turf.
The 5-year-old son of Mucho Macho Man scratched out of the August 26 West Point when it was forced off-the-turf. In his last start, City Man made the grade in the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple on July 15 at the Spa after previously being graded stakes-placed in the 2021 running of the Grade 2 Fort Marcy at Belmont.
With rain in the forecast again for Monday, Clement said they will consult with ownership and make a determination about running the day of. He referenced possible back-up races at Kentucky Downs and Woodbine, the latter being the Woodbine Mile on September 17, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile in November at Keeneland.
“We’ll have to speak with Mr. Reeves and come up with a plan,” said Clement. “Our best option is to run City Man here as long as it is on the turf. That is our preference. He can handle a little bit of cut in the ground, it just can't be a bog for him.”